After WWDC, several Apple executives have given interviews to speak in greater depth of the novelties presented. Let’s see What do the company’s top managers have to say about news?.
macOS Big Sur and Safari
Bom Borchers, Vice President of Marketing and Ronak Shah, Product Manager, discussed Big Sur’s news in the Upgrade podcast. As Craig Federighi already commented during the inaugural Keynote, this new version includes “the biggest Safari update to date”, with improvements for privacy, extensions, more compatibility, etc. In the podcast Borchers and Shah have exposed the following (respectively):
We have a pioneering record in protecting user privacy in Safari. This year, with the Privacy Report, we are raising awareness of how Safari protects you and making it easy for users, with a single click, to see which trackers are being blocked while browsing the web.
We are also improving the extensions. So now we are going to support the new web extension API. So all this range of extensions out there, developers are going to be able to easily take them to Safari. We are even shipping Xcode tools to make it easier for developers to do.
About the Privacy Report function, which informs us of the web trackers we visit while blocking themShah has expressed it like this:
We have been doing this for our users for a while now. We introduced Smart Tracking Prevention in 2017, so we’ve been blocking this type of third-party tracking for a while now. We want to raise awareness and let users know that this is happening and give them information that makes them more aware of the tracking that is being attempted while browsing the web. So with a click they can see the trackers that are trying to track them on the current website, or they can get even more information and see those trackers from the past 30 days.
watchOS 7, sleep monitoring and hand washing
At the Independent, Kevyn Lynch, vice president of technologies, talks about watchOS 7. Specifically about the implementation of sleep monitoring that it took Apple “a long time learning about sleep science”:
It is about getting enough sleep and the main thing is the difficulty of going to bed. There are so many things in the world that distract us and occupy our attention. Supporting people in managing that transition is where the magic is.
Lynch then comments on Apple’s strategy when presenting the dream information, which unlike other third-party apps does not offer too much detail. In addition, in another interview on CNET, the executive also comments that in the tests carried out they realized that sleep duration is the most important information to record:
In our studies we had people using EEGs on their heads, so we obtained information about the electrical activity of their brain, in addition to what we are able to feel on the wrist with the Apple Watch. And we’ve learned a lot about how the main thing here is really sleep duration.
A duration on which Apple does not want to create anxiety by telling us what we need to sleep, but, on the contrary, to recognize when we fulfill our objectives.
Lynch also emphasizes the privacy with which Apple treats all data:
Companies like Fitbit have used anonymous user data for years to study demographic sleep patterns and improve observations about sleep, but Apple doesn’t plan to do that. Instead, Apple has been building its machine learning models from data collected through internal studies.
And that takes a long time. So we have been working on this for a while. We treat the data that is collected on the user’s device with a high level of sensitivity around privacy. Apple is not viewing your dream data.
Finally, in an interview with TechCrunch, the same executive has commented that the function of handwashing detection featured in watchOS 7 that looks like a response to COVID-19 has been in development for years. A function that relies on the accelerometer to recognize the movements of a hand wash, as well as the microphone to recognize, through artificial intelligence, the sound of running water and soap.
These interviews are further proof that Apple does not make hasty decisions. Many of the featured features have been in development for years, polishing and refining the experience before introducing a truly useful product. A product that can make a difference.
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